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Man takes plea deal in hit and run death

-N-Man-charged-in-death-Ronald-James-WilliamsA Howard City man took a plea deal last week in the hit and run death of a Sand Lake man. He was one day into his trial.

Ronald James Williams, 57, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing serious injury and death in the April 21 accident that killed Tyler Helton, 20. Williams was reportedly driving on Stanton Road, east of Pierson, when he hit Helton, who was walking. Williams told police he thought he hit a deer. He reportedly stopped after the collision and looked around, but did not see Helton. He also stopped at a nearby house where residents came out after hearing the crash. He told them he thought he hit a deer, and eventually drove away. He turned himself in the next morning after hearing about the fatality on the news.

Williams admitted having three beers over a five-hour period earlier in the day, but the prosecutor said there was no evidence that Williams was drunk.

The law requires that the prosecution prove that Williams knew he hit a person, and the judge in the case didn’t feel that burden was met. So he recommended a plea deal.

Williams must pay restitution of $7,200 for funeral expenses, and if he pays within a month, the misdemeanor charge of failure to report an accident will be reduced to a speeding violation.

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